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NFL Power Rankings Week 17: Despite Loss, Falcons Still Top NFC

The Falcons failed their last big test of the season last night when they lost to the Saints in Atlanta. It will be interesting to see how they’re treated in the power ranks this week. The Bears got a big win over the Jets, but does anyone feel comfortable saying they’re a better team than Atlanta? I don’t. What about maybe the Ravens? It’s a possibility, but it’s not as if the Ravens haven’t lost to their top division rival this year.

Maybe the Eagles get some consideration if they blow out the Vikings tonight, but with Joe Webb starting would that really be all that impressive? So for now, I decided to leave the Falcons at #2.

(1) New England Patriots – After their blowout of the Bills, Tom Brady talked about how tough the AFC East was because they had to play teams like the Bills and Dolphins twice a year. Really Tom? (LW: 1)

(2) Atlanta Falcons – So the Falcons lose to the New Orleans last night, but does that mean they should drop below the Bears, Eagles or Ravens? I don’t really think so. They’re still going to clinch the #1 overall seed need week against the Panthers. (LW: 2)

(3) Chicago Bears – This team keeps winning and this time it was over a quality opponent in the Jets. It wasn’t even that close either. The Bears blew the Jets away in the 3rd quarter of that game. (LW: 3)

(4) Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore is tied atop the AFC North with Pittsburgh, although they lose a tiebreaker. That said, the Ravens have won three straight scoring over 30 in two of those games. They’re playing better than Pittsburgh right now. (LW: 5)

(5) New Orleans Saints – Huge win for them last night in Atlanta. The defending champs are a team no one wants to see in the postseason. (LW: 7)

(6) Philadelphia Eagles – Won the NFC East without even playing Sunday after their game was postponed until Tuesday. Now they’ve got to beat the Vikings and face a quick turnaround to host Dallas four days later. (LW: 4)

(7) Pittsburgh Steelers – They get an easy win over the hapless Panthers in Heinz Field and despite the fact that they could very well end this season with 12 wins I’m still very wary of this Steelers team. It’s almost inconceivable to see a Steeler team with an offensive line that bad. (LW: 7)

(8) Kansas City Chiefs – Another team that just keeps winning and they clinched the AFC West this weekend. That’s got to feel good for franchise that’s been pretty bad for quite a while now. (LW: 9)

(9) Green Bay Packers – Huge win over the Giants to seize control of the final wild card spot. A team with a good defense and good QB like this should scare anyone in the playoffs. (LW: 13)

(10) Indianapolis Colts – I jumped the Packers over the Colts this week because I think they’re just a better team. They’re grinding out wins, but they’re doing it with smoke and mirrors. (LW: 10)

(11) New York Jets – The Jets were in a tough position playing back to back road games against quality opponents, but the reality is that the Jets are now 1-3 in December. Their defense isn’t nearly as good as advertised and their QB has regressed as the year has gone on. (LW: 6)

(12) New York Giants – Last week I asked “How do the Giants come back from what happened to them Sunday?” Turns out, they couldn’t. The Giants were manhandled by the Packers and are now in the outside looking in to the playoffs. (LW: 11)

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – They need a lot of help, but they’re still alive in the NFC playoff race. Even though they likely won’t make the playoffs and St. Louis will, the Buc’s turnaround this season has been more impressive. (LW: 16)

(14) St. Louis Rams – They took care of business at home against the 49ers, now they need to get a win in Qwest Field to win the NFC Worst. The playoffs begin this weekend for them. (LW: 17)

(15) San Diego Chargers – Last week I said “This is a team that no one in the AFC wants to see sneak into the playoffs.” Thanks to their loss to to Cincy, one of the worst teams in football, no one will have to see them in the playoffs. (LW: 12)

(16) Oakland Raiders – Despite the fact that the Jags still have a shot at the postseason, I don’t think they’re as good as Oakland or San Diego. (LW: 15)

(17) Jacksonville Jaguars – Three weeks ago they were leading the AFC South. Now they’ve lost two straight and seem to have been exposed. (LW: 14)

(18) Seattle Seahawks – A team who has won six games all year and lost their last three actually has a home game to decide whether they get into the playoffs. (LW: 18)

(19) Detroit Lions – The Lions have won three straight games including two on the road and all three against teams that were .500 or better at the time. (LW: 24)

(20) Miami Dolphins – They’ve lost 3 of their last 4 to Cleveland, Buffalo, & Detroit. Plus, they’ve only won at home once this year. (LW: 19)

(21) Tennessee Titans – With the right QB, this could really have been a 10 win team. (LW: 22)

(22) Washington Redskins – They’ve scored 50 points in two games with Rex Grossman at the helm. Pretty embarrassing for Donovan McNabb. (LW: 28)

(23) Dallas Cowboys – They lost to arguably the worst team in the NFL last week and are now in last place in the NFC East. They probably also sealed Jason Garrett’s fate. (LW: 20)

(24) San Francisco 49ers – Took the first step rebuilding by firing Mike Singletary. Outside of Josh McDaniels, I’m not sure that there was a worse coach in football. (LW: 21)

(25) Minnesota Vikings – It’s not always snowy in Philadelphia, but it was this weekend. (LW: 23)

(26) Cleveland Browns – Lost the Art Modell bowl and Colt McCoy looked pretty awful. (LW: 26)

(27) Buffalo Bills – Despite a new coach, they actually clinched a worse record than they had last year. Chan Gailey was who we thought he was. (LW: 27).

(28) Cincinnati BengalsCarson Palmer finally plays well. Unfortunately it was 15 weeks too late. (LW: 29)

(29) Denver Broncos – Eventually Tim Tebow is going to have to do more than throw screen passes, but it worked against the league’s worst defense. (LW: 30)

(30) Houston Texans – Trivia question, who has the league’s longest current losing streak? Hint: it’s also the team with the worst defense in the NFL. (LW: 25)

(31) Arizona CardinalsJohn Skelton didn’t do much for most of the game, but he did lead them on the game winning drive against Dallas. It’s a start. (LW: 32)

(32) Carolina Panthers – If only they could draft Cam Newton or Andrew Luck before they have to play the Falcons this weekend. (LW: 31)